PERSONNEL I'll do all the graphics and XML unless more skilled and experienced volunteers come forward. I'm quite handy with Photoshop and have enough XML experience to get by if someone will answer a few dumb questions for me when the time comes.
STATISTICS Map dimensions: 927 wide by 892 high There are 74 territories of which 30 are "gates" Of the 44 non-gates, 15 are "special" All gates and special terts start with neutral troops Drops for the remaining 29 terts: 2 players: 14 each 3 players: 9 each 4 players: 7 each 5 players: 5 each 6 players: 4 each 7 players: 4 each 8 players: 3 each
BONUSES Bonus for every three territories of any type (as normal) Bonus for every four gates Bonus for getting all three of any of five different special territories, designated by icons and spread across the map
DESIGNER'S NOTES (since rendered partially irrelevant) From Augustus (the first emperor) onward, the succession in Imperial Rome followed no set course. The route to the Imperium often led through the camp of the Praetorian Guards. (Claudius holed up there until the Senate agreed to terms!) At other times, all-out civil wars were fought. Rare was the entirely peaceful and uneventful change of ruler. The legions were often bribed. Bread was given to the plebeians (lower classes). Knights calculated commercial opportunities and advantages carefully. And the aristocracy could rarely be stampeded. Each group had their own source of power and their own way of exerting influence.
Didn't plebs enjoy the gardens? Didn't even the aristos go to the baths? Why so many temples for the Knights? I admit: there's no real rationale behind most of my selections. Some consistency makes things easier for players like me who get easily confused. Thus all gardens and theaters belong to the knights, all baths to the plebs. More important than this is the geographical dispersion/concentration of each class of territory. I've tried to make things interesting in that regard, especially for the end-game.
By making less-than-all the condition for victory I accomplish two things. 1) Avoid drawn-out boring ends waiting for the obvious winner to clean out the last corner, and 2) made it possible (though unlikely) to win with a minority of the troops on the map. You can't hide in a corner and slowly build up strength - someone might steal the game before you get fully unleashed.
It was easy enough for me to imagine, as I squeezed 77 territories into the city, that someone would say, "But hey! The baths of Constantine aren't right next to the baths of Diocletian. Grrrr." So I added the on-map note regarding approximation. If anyone gets really upset during the forging I'll certainly try to accommodate specific requests for greater accuracy of placement. (The Via Salaria in particular is something of a figment of my imagination as far as the routing and length goes.)
QUESTIONS (can now be ignored) • Colors and color-blindness: do I need to revise things? Please give me advice. • Just inside the camp of the Preatorians, I could find nothing relevant on any historical map, but knowing how soldiers are I named a territory "Houses of Ill Repute". Please let me know if this is objectionable, or if you can find a real landmark I can use there. • I use an HP ZR24w monitor - it's very nice. Am I seeing a much better picture than members using smaller/older/cheaper/whatever monitors? How much allowance should I make for readability at levels of clarity less than I'm used to? • This map is 655x655 - I need advice regarding large/small and what size my next draft should be.
Last edited by Minister X on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:00 pm, edited 32 times in total.
Nola_Lifer wrote:You need some consistency. You use Latin names on the map and english translation on the legend. Everyone isn't going to know what via or porta mean in english.
The human brain's a funny thing; at least mine is. In the back of my mind I knew I had this problem, but it never registered hard enough to get the attention needed. Thanks for making it stand out. I'll address it next chance. (Great lesson on the value of independent review, huh?)
Very perceptive criticism. I've revised the victory conditions, and that allowed me to really revise the graphics. Gone are all those confusing colors. The game now centers on the gates and roads, with a few additional spots being part of small bonuses. Everything is cleaner and easier.
I'm glad to see you changed the bonus scheme. Holding any of those areas could have given any player an advantage on the drop, and even now it would be interesting to see the stats on holding 3 of those symbols on the drop (unless you plan to start them with neutrals)
Minister X wrote:... Yes, I know the symbols are Greek, not Roman, but can you think of better ones? Any suggestions would be welcomed.
As for this, you could do something similar to what i did with Poison Rome and create some Roman temple/building icons...lot of work to get them looking good, but well worth the effort. Only a suggestion. I'm sure there'll be other offerings of what you could do.
I tried columns, eagles, helmets, laurel wreaths, and a few other things. I can't make them work - not in the tiny spaces I have. I need letter-sized icons, which pretty much means... letters. Or colored dots.
Minister X wrote:I tried columns, eagles, helmets, laurel wreaths, and a few other things. I can't make them work - not in the tiny spaces I have. I need letter-sized icons, which pretty much means... letters. Or colored dots.
Ah, your map doesn't have to be 655 x 655. With supersizing, you can have a large map up to 1400 px wide (i think) as long as the large map is 9% larger that than the small map. But you probably don't need to go to those widths with this one. But it does leave some options other than trying to squeeze artwork into small spaces.
sannemanrobinson wrote:It looks like all adjacent regions connect to each other. Some impassibles like the river or walls would be welcome.
So obvious! Great suggestion. I revised the graphics so there are now both walls and normal borders. Gates in the walls, bridges over the river = good complexity to feed tactical hunger. Added a territory. Now there are 78 territories; 30 of them are gates and are needed to win.
In a two-man game there's a (hugely) remote possibility of a win on the drop. In any case, someone could get a 2:1 advantage on gates without the laws of probability being stretched very far. I have one idea to fix that: forget about these victory conditions. Instead, award bonuses for holding: • any 10 of the 30 gates • any 20 • all 30 Any suggestions on the sizes of these bonuses? Is this a good idea?
Thanks for the impassibles. The map is good to comprehend now. I would suggest making territory borders a bit thinner so they look less like impassibles. For example the border between Tomb of Augustus and Temple to Neptune looks better.
I wouldt worry about the drop with a victory condition. To make a chance of holding the victory condition a player has to hold some bonusses or sweep the board with escalating cards. Both strategies do not depend on the number of gates at the drop.
A possibility of giving a bonus to the gates is to replace the territory bonus with a gate bonus. For example if you hold 4 + X gates you get +3 + X/2 and no territory bonus. So 4 troops for 6 gates, 5 troops for 8 gates etc. There are many possible uses so keep playing with them!
I hate giving up the normal territory bonus of +1 for each three held (if that's what you mean - I'm uncertain if I'm reading you correctly). Some territories, like Baths of Helena and Gardens of Pallas would become totally worthless.Can't the #gates bonus be in addition - same as any normal continent bonus except that the 10 you need to hold are any 10 of the 30 instead of X number of specific constituents of the continent?
It is possible of course to give a bonus for 10 out of 30 and 20 out of 30. In my opinion this favours the one with +10 or +20 gates at the drop because the troop bonus will be somewhat high and it could be that the game is determined at the drop in 1v1 games. With a more gradual scale like one troop bonus for every 2 or 4 has the same problem but can be fought back in smaller steps.
If you still consider giving a bonus to the gates, why not make them starting neutrals?
I also like the idea. I'd like to see more life to the city, if it wasn0t for names I wouldn't think it is Rome the city rapresented on the map. Some pics I've found that could give you the inspiration:
In addition You should have your current (latest) update on the first post and leave it outside the spoilers. Use [/BigImg] tags
Your victory conditions are still something impossible to achieve....30 territories are too much in any case but specially on a 78 territories map. If it was my map I would add more buildings and a possible victory condition should be hold 1political, 1military and 1economic powers. (your old/starting idea but easier to achieve) The roads are not so clear on the map and I'm not so convinced you have to give them a so big importance (big bonuses) in any case. Have so big road bonus would have more sense on a map of the whole italian peninsula, that afterall was the main purpose of roman roads.
Finally, I know that lot of people could find hard to understand what is a Via, but it's a terrible thing to look at the legend and read "avenue bonuses", specially considering the roman theme. Anyway, on the whole it's a good start, I'm looking forward your next update. Nobodies
Thanks for the maps, and thanks to previous commenters for the nice things said.
Here's the fifth draft. I have had to remove a few territories to make room for the unit designations, so I think we're now at 75. I added them 1) to make sure they'd fit, and 2) to show the neutral starting threes in all of the Gate territories. I used the "official" 14-point Ariel with 1-pixel black outline but they look ugly to me. No matter, since the real ones will be what they are.
There are no special victory conditions - they are as simple as the simplest game. I know that will make the last few turns quite boring, but my previous effort to avoid that met with huge problems. The biggest game I play is Waterloo with 95 (?) territories and to win you must own them all, so I figure I'm safe.
The bonuses have been slightly revised. There are now four ways to earn reinforcements: 1) the usual one reinforcement for every three territories over nine, 2) by owning any one of the four sets of three symbols, 3) the roads, and 4) owning 10, 20 or 30 gates. The idea is to make the decisions about which bonuses to strive for both difficult and critical. The right decision should depend on the drop and the circumstances as they develop, and not always be the same. For example roads shouldn't be best 70% of the time. I created the roads bonuses using the spreadsheet formula provided, minus one since connections to other bonus areas are slight. I've made the others up out of thin air and I think that adjusting the Gates bonuses will be the key to achieving that strategic balance I hope to get. I've only played 260 games, so my judgment on the values to start with for play-testing are not worth much. I'm open to argument. All I'll say is that the huge bonus for owning all thirty makes sense to me because it will mean a quicker end to the game and isn't at all likely to be achieved until someone is close to winning anyway. It's really the bonus for owning 10 that's most critical. Or maybe, instead of 10/20/30 it should be every five, or even every three. Think how hard it is to keep possession of three commanders in Waterloo. In a full 8-man game owning ten would be extremely difficult until the field had been halved or so. So maybe: "Bonus: +3 for every four gates owned." ?? ??
Are the roads any easier to see than before? Probably harder. Are others having problems with them? Any suggestions for making it easier without ruining the already tenuous graphics? Perhaps it's not clear, but in the box called "Avenue Bonuses" those squiggly lines exactly match the avenues on the main map. Perhaps I should make them some bright color? I'd hate to make the roads themselves some garish color.
thenobodies80: some of your comments have been addressed; I'm PMing you about one other.
Last edited by Minister X on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
I really like the gameplay look and feel of the latest version, but it's a little too dark for me. Personally I would like to see some kind of color, not like the first couple of versions, but something to lighten it up a bit.
As for the symbols, seriously it's a map of Rome you have to use Roman symbols. Try looking for a cool font like the below. I didn't look hard enough to see if it's free for commercial use as well, but you get the idea.
I suppose that the way to make both you and thenobodies80 happy is to color in the road territories with four different colors and then key off those colors in the legend, but I hate to do it. Bear in mind that I only used the green and neutral unit designations but there will be up to nine different ones.
I downloaded that cool free font. Unfortunately, I don't think it will work for us, but it gave me some ideas. We'll see them in the next draft. -- -- Interestingly enough, though you suggested the symbol font to fix my Greek problem, the symbols include this one:
Which is of a Greek! (Or at least ain't no Roman.)
There's always something I miss. Thanks for the good eyeballs and for catching that. I'm going to cheat and update the sixth draft with this small improvement, and not go through a whole 'nother draft replacement.